A glorious couple of days with long spells of pure, warm, unbroken sunshine and the faintest waft of a breeze; the only down side of the stunning conditions is that it’s not really conducive to large numbers of grounded migrants. The male Grey-headed Wagtail was re-found on the beach at Brides on the 28th while other migrants included a White Wagtail, a Dunnock, 62 Wheatears, 2 Redwings, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Chiffchaffs and 2 Common Redpoll.
Lingering or departing wildfowl comprised the Whooper Swan, 2 new immature Mute Swans, a Pink-footed Goose, 5 new Barnacle Geese and 9 Pintail while waders included 4 Knot, 170 Purple Sandpipers, a Whimbrel and a much improved 442 Turnstone with many rapidly acquiring their stunning breeding plumage. One of last years successful breeding Arctic Skuas was back on Torness (the affectionately named ‘notchy’ – a dark phase bird with a distinctive notch out of one of her wings), the two usual pairs of Bonxies were also back patrolling their traditional breeding spots and the first Black-headed Gull eggs were noted.
An even more stunning day on the 29th but it was also an even quieter day in the field as a result; migrants included a Sparrowhawk, a Woodpigeon, 6 Sand Martins, 10 Swallows, a Rock Pipit, 2 White Wagtails, a Dunnock, 44 Wheatears, 2 Blackcaps and a Brambling. Seven Arctic Terns were offshore and the Kumlien’s Gull was seen once again – although the longer the spring goes on, the more bleached and pale this bird is becoming, if you saw it new now, you’d be hard pushed to call it a Kumlien’s!
Bonxie Simon Davies